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Do you buy budget range food?

Food prices can

We’re planning an investigation later this year on the differences between supermarket budget, standard and premium food ranges and we want to hear your experiences. Are you buying more budget food?

Are there certain foods you would happily trade down on, such as fruit and veg? Or are there other foods that you’d always spend as much as you could afford?

In theory I would happily buy budget range fruit and veg, but when I last tried budget potatoes and carrots I found them to be really watery, so I went back to buying standard.

My aunt buys budget range natural yoghurt and says it does the job perfectly and I’ve used budget butter when baking and couldn’t really tell the difference. But I’m not convinced that budget baked beans would be as good. I’m a Heinz girl through and through and I don’t eat them often enough to make any real saving by trading down.

Having said that, when we last taste tested baked beans, Morrisons Value beans scored the same as Heinz so maybe I should just give them a go.

What do you look for in food?

As a family we don’t eat a lot of meat, but when we do I always buy free-range or organic and go for the premium ranges. Why? Because I want to know where my meat is from, that it’s not packed with cheap fillers and that the animal had a fairly decent life.

If you’re considering trading down what would you think about? Is it a decision based entirely on cost? Or would you also consider the quality and nutritional aspect of the food? How about the origin of the food? And if it were meat or fish, would the welfare of the animal play a part in your decision?

Last time we investigated this topic people told us that they regularly bought budget avocados, fruit, pasta, muesli, cornflakes, tinned tomatoes and toffee and chocolate. Are there any other foods that you’re convinced are just as good in the budget range? Or any that you want to know about and would like us to include in our investigation? Let us know and we will incorporate them if possible.

Do you buy budget range supermarket food?

Only occasionally (51%, 580 Votes)

Yes - all the time (40%, 449 Votes)

No - never (9%, 100 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,129

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Budget ranges? Never. At least, not any more, since Aldi extended its range to allow most people to do a full shop there.

What’s the point of buying the lower quality budget ranges from the main supermarkets when Aldi (and Lidl) provide much better quality at the same price, or lower.

Sometimes there are budget ranges that seem just as good. Currently, Sainsburys are doing basics grapes. £1.25 for 500g compared with £2 for non-basics. The label says “smaller grapes, still a great bunch”. But the ones I’ve being buying recently are not at all small, and taste great.

The label also says “class II”. I managed to track down a document that describes the grape classes – https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/299241/Table_Grapes.pdf. The differences between class I and class II are pretty minor. The document is prompted by EU regulation no 543/2011.

In conclusion it seems that these ‘basics’ grapes are less costly because of a technicality to do with EU regulations.

When I go into the supermarket I will look at the premium, the own brand and the economy range and find that in a large number of cases I’ll buy, or at least try, own brand and if I like them I’ll stick with them. Recently I bought Asda’s cornflakes but I don’t particularly like them so in all probability it will be back to Kellogs!

My main reason for buying own brand is quite simply COST.. In the majority of cases I’m hard put to to see the difference between Own Brand and Premium Brand

Also I’ve no hang ups about buying the economy range of foods, especially if it is going to be buried with other ingredients eg economy berries for home made smoothies

I also visit the reduced price corner of my local supermarkets, there are savings to be made there

Pretty much since Lidl and Aldi came to the UK I have been using them if they are in easy driving range. We also use Waitrose for items that the German firms do not carry. German firms operate on much finer margins than the indigenous major chains , around 50% less. And their quality control is very good generally. The week spot is the vegetables where we find there shelf-life is poorer than Waitrose or a farm shop. However blanching and freezing can take care of that.

A few years ago I tested tinned tomatoes by buying Lidl, a supermarket brand, and the most expensive. In my testing then the dry weight, taste, etc were all similar and therefore a resounding victory for the German chains on value.

Over the last year we have been experimenting with bulk-buying from a firm that supplies nursing homes etc. Originally we started with 40 toilet rolls, 5kg dishwashing and 10kg washing powder and these have both been successful. The dishwashing works out at 3p a wash as opposed say to tabs from Lidl at 10p a pop or 40p for the top brand.

We have now bought from the same firm more powders [not yet required], rolls, and a dozen Colgate toothbrushes and a 12 tubes of Aquafresh toothpaste. The toothpaste is instructive as on-line prices offered go from 64p to £2.05 but this is in part as the tubes can contain 50 to 125ml. I am paying 95p per 125ml as opposed to supermarkets offering a 100ml tube for £1 and up.

The toothbrushes can be had as offers in a triple pack on-line for 33p or at Poundland for 33p. Cheaper than I got but then I did not pay postage or use petrol.

I omitted meats. I bought cheap steak from Tesco once. Worst meat I had tasted in my life and tough.
The meat products at the German chains are good so we buy some from them, farm shop and Waitrose.

The best dry cure bacon comes from the farm shop as the packaged stuff still seems to ooze fluids. Buying belly pork and pig cheeks is incredibly economical and very tasty. Other than that chicken needs to be of good quality as there is too much water filled meat on sale – particularly poultry.

TC says:
29 July 2014

When doing our grocery shop we get most of our items at Lidls as we now know what of their products suit our taste. IE Biscuits, cakes, tinned soups, tomatoes,curry as well as essentials like milk , bread, butter,jams margarine,bran, meusili and most of their meats etc. We do not go too much on some of the cheaper cereals and cant understand why they do not sell choc bar ices and shredded wheat

Roxy1952 says:
18 September 2014

As a full time career to my disabled husband I struggled to afford weekly shopping in the large well known Supermarkets .He has special dietary needs and I need to prepare all meals from scratch. I now do most of my shopping at Aldi. Great quality range of every day produce.. As my local Aldi is in Newquay the goods do not stay on the shelves long enough to become stale/out of date I .buy my Yorkshire tea on line. Go to Sainsbury’s for the items that I prefer to buy branded like low salt Oxo cubes and, Heinz beans. Through trial and error on my part I have found buying most items from Aldi saves me money and the quality of what I buy exceeds that of the large Supermarkets Budget Brands.